About David Learmount

Author Archive | David Learmount


Do we do nothing if AF 447 remains a mystery?

It is still possible that the AF 447 recorders will be found. But if they never are, can the industry afford not to explore what is likely to have happened, rather than what is merely possible? The list of theoretical possibilities is, at present, so long that an assumption by the industry that any of them might have […]

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Safety and politics don’t mix

European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani and several French politicians have seen fit to pronounce on aviation safety in the wake of the Yemenia Airbus A310 accident in a way that reflects a distressing degree of nationalistic prejudice.   Without any knowledge of what caused the Yemenia accident, they have clearly pre-judged the carrier as not […]

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The unvarnished truth about all airline accidents

The following statements apply to all accidents involving all airlines flying all types of aircraft, whether people in them were hurt or not: 1. If the accident involves a big Western-built jet airliner with lots of people on it, it will either be an Airbus or a Boeing, because they are the only Western aircraft manufacturers left on the […]

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AF447: the search

If Paul-Louis Arslanian, the BEA’s chief investigator in charge of the AF447 probe, says he does not have any answers yet, how can the rest of the world be so sure of its many theories? Arslanian has more direct access to information than any of us has, and an international team of the best analysts available. But you can tell […]

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The A380 shows off Airbus’ clever new kit

This group has just disembarked after a 27 May A380 flight from Airbus’ Toulouse base. The flight was mounted to demonstrate two really clever and seriously useful avionic advances that Airbus is just about to see certificated. One will make airborne collision a little less likely, the other will prevent runway overruns. Overruns are the most common type of aircraft accident, and one of the most […]

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Missing Air France A330

Air France has just admitted that it cannot hold out hope any longer of re-establishing contact with flight AF447. By now, the company says, this Airbus A330-200 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris would have run out of fuel if it were still airborne. At present, information is very sparse. According to the airline, the last report […]

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Preparing pilots for googlies

As flight deck automation becomes more reliable – to the point of hardly ever failing - it is becoming more of a human factors problem. The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch makes this clear in its report on the Thomsonfly Boeing 737-300 that stalled and was momentarily out of control during its approach to Bournemouth two […]

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Digital versus delightful

What makes manufacturers who are considering a new aircraft choose fly-by-wire or traditional control systems, sidestick or control yoke? Of course, for a big-jet it’s no contest any longer: it’ll be FBW, but there will still be a wrangle over the pilot’s cockpit control. Most planned new business jets and some of the latest regional […]

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Contaminated air: it’s not just aeroplanes…

This is about a comment that was appended recently to my blog “The toxic subject that won’t die”. It doesn’t matter, it seems, whether the gas turbine powers a ship or an aeroplane. It can, as Troy Moeller says, “blow atomised synthetic lube oil all over you”. And then you lose your job and your health. […]

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Beyond pilot training

With its free-of-charge Safety Standdown seminars at Wichitaw and EBACE Geneva, Bombardier takes civil pilots into realms way beyond the “aviate, navigate, communicate” arts of flying they are traditionally exposed to. You have to go to one to find out what I mean, because you don’t know what you don’t know until somebody shows you. […]

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